Family rises to the challenge

By Sophie Baldwin

STEPHEN AND Brooke Brown might have to reconsider the definition of their Jersey herd after cleaning up at the Murray Valley Jersey Breeders Club On-Farm Challenge this year.

The Gunbower couple won junior two-year-old in-milk and Junior Champion with Blairden Dimension Lily, three-year-old in-milk and Champion Vessel with Blairden Visionbeat Daisy, four-year-old in-milk with Blairden Vanahelm Marlene and Champion Cow and six- or seven-year-old in-milk with Blairden Bosgannon Duchess.

The only class they were beaten in was the five-year-old category and that was won by Stephen’s parents Hec and Judy Brown from Merindah Jersey stud.

They also won best group of five.

“We didn’t enter a mature class cow or a senior two year in milk so the results are pretty amazing. I don’t want to sound conceited but I have never seen anyone sweep the board like we did,” Stephen Brown said.

“I always thought we had more of a commercial herd and we only ever registered cows that won the odd class — we might have to look at it a little harder in the future and make it a higher priority.”

Blairden also tasted success back in 2014 when Blairden Destiny Marlene won Champion Cow.

Mr Brown said the Marlene family had been a great performer across the herd and resulted in two champion cows.

“They are good long-lived cows with beautifully attached udders. We breed for production and type, which go hand-in-hand and equal longevity in a cow.”

The Browns only began their dairying journey in 2006. They purchased their Jersey herd with the farm.

“Fred and Peter Bawden never had a stud herd but they always used registered bulls — that mixed with some Merindah blood seems to have created some good cows. Mum and Dad (Merindah) have been breeding stud cows since 1967,” Mr Brown said.

“My mother is a very passionate Jersey breeder and she put pressure on us to enter the challenge initially (in 2009).”

The Browns are now looking forward to seeing how their champion cows perform at the next step — the Great Southern Challenge.